Saturday, 31 December 2005

Expiry date: 6th Jan 2006?

It’s the time of year when we all like to take stock. My husband hates the idea of New Year’s Resolutions with a passion. Not that I think he disagrees with the idea of improving oneself, or setting goals. It is the idea that most resolutions are abandoned by 6th January that bothers him, the half-heartedness of it all.

Anyway, I like to think about what I would like to achieve and set some goals now and then, and 1st January is as good a day as any. So here are some of my goals for 2006:

To sell a second book.
To finish the above book (still stuck in Chapter Four).
To eat more healthily, do more exercise and generally reduce my acreage.
To harness my over-active imagination for writing alone and, therefore, stop making mountain ranges out of minor mole hills. (I hear my husband applauding loudly at this one).
To clean my oven.
To read the Bible in one year.
And last, but not least, learn to touch-type properly.

I'll let you know how many have fallen off the bottom of the list next week.

Saturday, 24 December 2005

Little Zero

My four-year-old daughter announced a few days ago that her doll, which had previously been named "Dolly", had a real name.

"She's called Little Zero," my daughter said, without the hint of a smile.

"Why's that?" I asked.

Daughter gives me very matter-of-fact look, as if I don't have enough brain cells to rub together. "Because she's little and she's zero." (Zero because she is a baby and, therefore, is not one year old yet, I discover.)

I walked straight into that one, didn't I?

Anyway, this is Little Zero:

Merry Christmas, Little Zero.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Friday, 23 December 2005

The long and winding road

Today I am trying to kick-start a story I have not touched in about a month. I’m not sure if I had a ‘block’ on it, but I definitely hit a sticky patch at chapter four.

I think of my story in terms of a journey. I know my destination. I even know my route to some extent, but what I really need to work out now is what is going to take me there. I need to find my mode of transport.

My vehicles are the scenes in each chapter. Which ones am I going to include? What small things and big things are going to happen to my characters to let me show me what they are feeling and thinking at each given moment. Which events are going to push the story in the direction I want it to go? There are so many possibilities.

This is the part of plotting I find the hardest. It often seems like I’m feeling around in the dark with just enough light for the step in front of me. I just have to keep clutching onto my map and make sure I keep putting one foot in front of the other. Eventually I will emerge from the dark wood and find I’m free-wheeling down the hill towards the final chapter.

Since the kids are running around in a pre-Christmas riot, I shall probably hole myself up in my office for an hour or two. Office, hah! I wish! My office is a rather old-fashioned school desk in the corner of my bedroom. It doesn’t even have a computer – I shall be working with pen and notepad. It does, however, have a coaster to put a cup on so I can keep myself pumped full of caffeine, and a window to stare out of while I am waiting for inspiration to strike.

Let’s hope I’m not still there at 2 am in a pool of drool with a woodgrain pattern on my cheek…

Wednesday, 21 December 2005

A man, a woman and a rather large puddle...

That phrase kind of sums up the opening chapter of my first book “Blind-Date Marriage” rather nicely. Who knew a puddle could be romantic?

Actually, the puddle only makes a guest appearance in the first part of the chapter and then is never heard from again. I believe it stomped to its trailer in a huff when it found out it only had a bit part. “A cameo,” I told it. “Not a bit part, a cameo.” That seemed to smooth things over somewhat.

And what of the man and the woman? Well…

Serendipity Dove is searching for a normal life – whatever that means. And top on her wish list is the perfect husband to provide her with two point four children and a cottage with roses round the door. Then she meets Jake, an intelligent, attractive accountant, and he ticks all the right boxes. Well almost all of them. She’s too busy falling in love to notice that, down in the small print, the ready-for-commitment box is glaringly empty.

The puddle insists on taking full credit—or should it be blame—for getting them together. You’ll have to read the book to find out how good a matchmaker it was…